a $450 kitchen makeover and some lemon rosemary hummus

I’ve just moved for the second time in six months. I’m really hoping it will be the last move for a while. At least for a year or two. But I know enough to never say never. I actually like moving. I like shedding possessions. I like the challenge of a new space. I love getting organized – making a place my own. I find houses interesting. I love the chance to reinvent myself.

Over the past 32 years, I’ve lived in 22 different homes in 11 cities over two continents. But right about now – just fifteen days after I actually moved into my latest place, I’m feeling like staying put. In fact, I’m feeling pretty distinctly weary.

I’ve also been really busy for the past six months, writing a new book. On the first of September, in the middle of a massive renovation, with almost everything I owned still in boxes, I submitted my manuscript to the publisher.

Please forgive me but I’m really, really excited about this book. It’s a culinary history book. A perfect combination for me since I love both food and history and have ever since my grandfather stood me on a little wooden step stool in his ancient Yorkshire kitchen and let me help him in the kitchen. And as we get further down the track, I’ll post more details including recipes.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a picture of my new kitchen and my $450 kitchen makeover. Yes – $450.00! 🙂

This is the new house – nine years old – a little suburban cutie. It’s super-efficient and compact. It has lovely high ceilings and a sweet little yard. We also have an 1840s inner-city limestone townhouse with a kitchen that’s about to undergo a much more substantial industrial-style makeover. But since this kitchen is new – instead of ripping it out – we just gave it a face-lift that included painting the cabinets (paint took up $250 of the budget), new cabinet hardware, and a new tap. Since I took the photograph – I’ve also added a new blind. But I’m still under $450.00 because I included that in my costs. If you want any information on painting your kitchen cabinets – please message me below. I’ll be happy to share details.

Here’s the before:021

And here’s the after:


It’s a great space – open and sunny and looks out to the pretty back yard with a couple of crab apple trees, a red maple, some overgrown willow bushes, and high wooden fencing. Perfect for my dog, Lola….

Lola August 2014

Next year I’m looking forward to planting a garden in the back. And in the front yard I’d like to do a no-mow yard with a “help yourself herb garden” so that my neighbours and friends can come and pick fresh herbs.

Which brings me to today’s post. My rosemary plant was given to me a couple of years ago by a good friend when she came to dinner. It has survived the moves and is sitting on my back deck. Rosemary doesn’t endure our cold Ontario winters so sometime soon it will have to come indoors again and sit in a sunny window sill. I love using rosemary in both sweet and savoury dishes. But I hadn’t thought of using it in hummus until I was touring Costco recently and sampled some rosemary hummus there. AMAZING. I promptly came home and made my own. I make hummus regularly and add all kinds of things including sweet potato, pureed pumpkin, chipotle peppers and lime, parsley, pumpkin seeds, olives, etc., however I think this simple rosemary hummus might just be a new favourite.

Lemon Rosemary Hummus

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

You will need a food processor for this recipe. A garlic press will also come in handy.

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or use 1 19 fl oz / 540 ml can, drained and well-rinsed)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped rosemary

Place all the ingredients in the food processor and puree until desired consistency is reached. If you want a smoother hummus – add a tablespoon of water.




36 thoughts on “a $450 kitchen makeover and some lemon rosemary hummus

  1. I moved a lot of times too…. it’s very tiring, but it’s even true that new places bring a lot of new energie (If you can live through the moving itself!). I’m a hummus addicted person.. I think you chose one of the best housewarming food! Your dog is really cute!

    1. The cooking and writing has kind of fallen apart while I’ve been packing, moving, and unpacking. I’ve been living on meals I can throw together in less than fifteen minutes. Kind of longing for a whole weekend in the kitchen – instead of one of unpacking boxes (this weekend it was books) and hanging pictures and cleaning and rearranging…. etc. etc – interrupted by frantic sessions in the kitchen throwing food together.
      And my dog – yes – thank you – she is the sweetest dog ever. And a character. 😉

  2. I’m also very much into food history and your book sounds like one I’d love to read. I hope you’ll be able to publish it soon and I’ll be happy to learn more on how to get it.

    The kitchen looks totally different and light. $450 well spent no doubt…

    As someone who grew up in Israel, I used to find it hard to accept different flavors for the original Hummus, but I’ve learned to keep an open mind and enjoy all the newer versions. I’ve never had Rosemary in Hummus yet, but I will surely give it a try soon. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad you’re interested in culinary history too Ronit. Amazing topic. Such an overlooked part of history and so important – I believe food stories are the real stories of our lives. And thank you re my kitchen. It is a pretty dramatic transformation for $450. I love that you grew up in Israel and I bet you’re a connoisseur of hummus. Perfect smart food really – quick, easy, inexpensive, loaded with protein, and SO tasty. Rosemary is pretty good in there – not overpowering – merely enhancing. love hearing from you. Thank you. 😉

      1. The food in Israel is a fascinating combination of local foods along with foods that were brought by immigrants from all over the world. I used to have a weekly column in one of the leading newspapers about origins of different items and dishes. I enjoyed it so much, it kept on going for almost 10 years, which is very rare for me… 🙂

  3. I’m not a fan of hummus, but I love your writing style. It’s like sitting down with an old friend and catching up on the latest news in their life that matters. Excellent!

    1. Well that is just about the nicest thing anyone has ever said. Thank you. Very encouraging as I have been feeling so burnt out that I felt I had let my blog go to pieces and needed to really buckle down and put some serious effort back into it. I will still do that. But I so appreciate your kind words and encouragement. xo

  4. Thanks Maria – I’m incredibly nosey too, especially about houses. In a different life, I would have been an interior designer. I have to stop myself when I go in other people’s houses from wanting to redecorate and at least move the furniture. My daughter stopped me yesterday as I was mentioning some changes to her living room configuration. Ooops. Anyway – it’s time for me to get cooking again properly and you’ve inspired me with your recent Greek version of ratatouille. 😉

  5. Two great posts in one! A neat recipe (which I’ll try) and a before and after of your kitchen. Nice work all around. Where in Ontario do you live and how long can you keep the rosemary out?

    1. Hello Cynthia! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I live in beautiful, historic Kingston – a city chosen after a lot of gallivanting about. I just asked for your book at the Kingston Public Library. Am looking forward to reading you soon. Are you in the GTA?
      My rosemary needs to come in almost immediately – before we get a heavy frost. The needles are already turning and that’s not a good thing. Rosemary grows into big beautiful hedges in some parts of the world but sadly – we can’t do that in Ontario.

      1. I’m in the GTA. North east of Toronto.
        Thank you for requesting my book at the Kingston Library. I’m a great fan of libraries and librarians.
        We’ll have to bring in our rosemary soon, though mine usually develop that white powdery fungus in February or March. My friend keeps hers in a cool sunroom, outdoors in good weather — it’s a giant now.

      2. Tricky plant for indoor gardening isn’t it? I think lots of light, good drainage, and temperatures that aren’t too high help but sadly – I don’t really have a suitable place in my new house. And I have a little case of plant envy hearing about your friend’s monster rosemary. It’s beautiful in wreathes and floral arrangements. And there’s compelling new evidence that it could be used in the fight against Alzheimer disease and dementia in general. Why didn’t i think to write any of this in the post?! Anyway – so great to hear from you. 😉

  6. I love your kitchen and am amazed at the low reno cost, you should write a book about that. I am excited for you regarding your book, I want to buy a copy when it is published. I love culinary history. Your little house must be just lovely and the back yard is adorable as is that cute little Lola. Would love to know more about your limestone that you are renovating, I sell historic homes for a living and love them.

    1. Suzanne – that’s amazing that you sell historic homes – what a fabulous way to make a living. Our 1840s limestone is a very sweet gem. A wall of exposed limestone inside, original pine plank floors, and the original wood beam across the ceiling. It was in rough shape and we are doing it up floor by floor. And thank you so much – re the book – it doesn’t come out til fall 2015 but I’m already excited. Really appreciate your lovely comments. Thank you. xo

  7. Your new book will be a hit and I wish I’d thought of doing it! Cooking is just second nature to my sister and I because of our mother and our farm upbringing. The men in the family may try to cook and a few do ok but they are not at ease with cooking because the moms and the sisters just did the cooking…Both my sister and I have cooked for our sons and spoiled them. I have tried a little to teach my some things and he will sometimes cook but mostly eats out. My sister also has 3 daughters and one of them will cook. Oh dear. I would like to teach my son a few more cooking tips and I may write about that!
    The hummus dip will be a good quick treat to show him how to do!

    1. So interesting how cooking is second nature to us but not to our children. I have two daughters – one cooks and the other – not so much. She’s good though at heating up frozen pizzas! But they have their own amazing skills and I’m sure your son and nieces are the same. I’m looking forward to reading about you teaching your son a few cooking tips. Perhaps I’ll learn something new too. 😉

  8. The hummus is to die for!!!! Delish!! I would love to read a blog about your kitchen redo. It’s very clean and sharp! The white cabinets really make a difference. My husband may be buying a few gallons, of white paint, for me tomorrow lol! Please keep us up to date on your book. 🙂

    1. Oh you are just so lovely – thank you!! Totally recommend painting the kitchen cabinets. Costs a FRACTION of having them sprayed professionally and looks pretty much the same so long as you prep properly. We painted our last kitchen too – all dark and that’s actually easier. But I wanted a white kitchen in this house. Just in case you do get paint…I loved the paint we used – Benjamin Moore Stix primer and Benjamin Moore Advance – which is mega expensive (at least in Canada) but completely worth it. It is a self-levelling, low odour oil paint that cleans up with water. Colour we used was Chantilly Lace – which is a warm white and then a brown/black on the island. All the best if you do go ahead.

  9. I cannot believe you still have that rosemary plant!! And if your hummus is half as good as that stuff we sampled at Costco, I will be very impressed!!
    LOVE the Lola pic!!
    She looks pretty happy in her new garden!

  10. Very nice! I’ve been making my own hummus, too…there is some in the fridge right now.I add sesame seeds to mine. Yours sounds lovely..and yes,I should really paint my cabinets, but I’m afraid to start.

    1. Oh yes Tonette – starting is always the hard part! But I just couldn’t face moving in here with those awful orange-y oak cabinets. So depressing. Like living in a motel or something. I believe you can have any colour you like in your kitchen – so long as it’s white! 😉

  11. Ah a culinary history book! Awesome. I can’t wait to see it! I didn’t realize you were so transient. Cooking seems like a kind of homemaking, I guess it’s the way you make each new place a home. Your kitchen is beautiful. What a difference! The white paint and new handles change everything. What I wouldn’t do for that light and the island! And your not-yet-planted garden. Beautiful hummus too.

    1. Transient is a good word for it Amanda. I was born on an overseas business trip so I come by this honestly. Thanks re kitchen! I love that $450 can do so much! I do love the light and high ceilings in this kitchen. But my all-time favourite kitchen was a tiny galley kitchen in Australia – large terracotta tiles on the floor – looked onto an interior courtyard that opened to the sky and filled the house with light and greenery. Right out of a magazine. Our old downtown place we bought because it was a piece of history and so neglected and we’re doing it up slowly. That kitchen is next and it’s going to be industrial – with exposed limestone, reclaimed lumber and stainless steel. It is a fabulous project. But of course – when you come to Kingston 😉 you’ll see it.

  12. I made something very similar to this for my dinner last night! No tahini, and I used white beans. I’ve moved all my life growing up and married until we (sadly) moved to Oklahoma, and now it’s been 26 years. But ten years ago we moved into a house that I call my grown up house, and we love it. Somehow, even though many families have lived in this almost 100-year old house, we really feel it’s ours. And it’s a fantastic feeling. Love your redone kitchen!

    1. Thanks Mimi. I remember seeing your beautiful kitchen but didn’t realize that your house was so old. I adore old homes – despite some of the hassles. Our 1840s limestone has its issues (limited insulation, etc.) but the connection to the past outweighs all of that for me.
      Always lovely to hear from you.

  13. Lovely recipe and great post. Now, I am feeling bad for not having done a thing to our kitchen since we moved in, but the garden shed has to be painted first. I look forward to your book being published – do keep us informed. You and I must shop at the same Costco – we do most of our shopping in the limestone city. Hope we have a chance to meet up some day. Maybe you would be interested in our gardening group (GRG) http://te-grassrootsgrowers.weebly.com/
    Next event is Nov. 4.

  14. Hilda – I’d love to join your gardening group – how wonderful. Thank you. And true confessions here – I’m a complete novice gardener. I grow things in pots. Have much to learn! Will follow up with you closer to the time.

    1. No need to be an expert gardener. The next talk is on Nov. 4 and is about growing berries and asparagus from a local farmer. The details are on the website under events. It would be great if you could come along. No membership required, and this event, like most, is free.

  15. Love that kitchen, Lindy. It’s so fresh…and so warm and welcoming… I want to sit right there at that table with you. I really, really do. And then we’ll cook. ❤
    Also..I'm so excited about your book!! ….and I hope to get a signed copy from you (of course, I will buy it!!). With a heart by your name. I cannot wait to read it, and then I can show everyone and say… I know Lindy…she's my friend. ❤ Bigshot that I am…
    Oh, and the hummus? Yep. Delicious. You have me hungry for it now. I have all of the ingredients, and a fresh bag of carrots that will go so perfectly with it tonight!

  16. I came back to catch up on some posts and I’m so glad I did. I would of missed this bit of important information. 🙂 I love the idea of moving often. I really do! We moved quite a bit but for some reason this place is keeping us grounded a bit more and the roots are starting to grow deep. I love what you did with your kitchen! Such a lovely place and I would want to spend as much time in there as i possibly could. Even set up office on the table! I am very enthusiastic to hear more about your book Lindy. Such good news. Love your sweetie in the backyard photo! And, rosemary in hummus! Yum!

    1. Seana – I’m just so genuinely happy you’re back. It was funny when you were gone – I would be in random places – the market, my desk, walking my dog and you would cross my mind. I would think – “I hope Seana is okay.” I missed you. But you know – I understand the blogging hiatus – I’m in a bit of a slump myself. It’s hard to remain continuously inspired in the kitchen (and in life in general!). As for moving – well it’s all very exciting for a bit but I think putting down roots is lovely. We’ve been in Kingston since 2001 – except for one year away when we made a quick move to Australia. We sold our home, our cars, farmed out our cat – and then the job turned out to be a disaster – so moved back a year later. Bought a new house – new cars – and retrieved the cat! That was our third move to Australia and back. I think Kingston is home now and always will be. And when I get itchy feet – I’ll travel to wonderful places – like England and France and Mexico and yes, Seattle. xo

  17. I’ve had eleven homes since I’ve been married and I thought that was a lot. 😀 Love how you have made the kitchen your own…it looks great. I just cut lots of branches off my rosemary bush because it is going into the 20’s tonight. This sounds like a great way of using some of it.

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